Traders See ‘Flock of Black Swans’ on Worst Day for European Stocks

Mar 13, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By John Lothian and JLN Staff

Welcome to Friday the 13th. More cancellations and postponements. Wednesday, it was the NBA. Yesterday, it was the NHL, MLB, Broadway, Disneyland, Disneyworld and March Madness. Even Barchart joined the fun. And just for more fun, the Dow Jones dropped the largest percentage amount since October of 1987. The Dow plunged 2,352 points to close at 21,201 points, or down 10%. By comparison, the Dow was at 19,827 as President Trump took office.

Late yesterday, Cboe finally matched CME Group and announced they were suspending floor trading in Chicago. Rock stars and footballers have cancelled concerts and matches respectively. Basically, if the Starbucks is full of people, go to the one across the street.

In Illinois, Governor Jay Pritzker ordered the shutdown of any events with more than 1000 people. With the trading floors closed after today, Rick Santelli will be looking for somewhere to give market commentary and spout things he will have to apologize for.

Since we don’t need drama and laughter is harder to come by, Broadway decided to go dark. You know the news is bad when even the Chicago Tribune has a story about the CME Group trading floors indefinitely closing today.

Major League Baseball cancelled the rest of spring training and postponed the start of the season. The National Hockey League dropped the puck on the rest of the season. And March Madness, which was going to go on without any fans present, was cancelled for both the men’s and women’s championships. Earlier in the day the conference championships for basketball were cancelled, which made it hard to pull off March Madness.

Barchart has postponed their cmdtyExchange Grain Summit 2020 to August 26-28, 2020.


Seemingly (and probably appropriately) afraid of the federal court’s contempt findings and sanctions in the CFTC v Kraft miniseries now playing in the northern district of Illinois, the CFTC yesterday asked the court to vacate its contempt findings. While some may suspect other motives, the agency says it is concerned about wasting money: “Judicial economy and the public interest weigh in favor of vacating an order where vacatur will prevent the continued expenditure of judicial and litigant resources.” After five years of litigation of a case whose cause of action dates to 2011, maybe it is about time the CFTC started worrying about judicial and litigant resources. The CFTC’s last sentence, though, probably gets to the heart of the media-conscious federal agency’s concerns: “Regardless of whether the Court grants that relief, the CFTC respectfully requests that the Court refrain from naming individuals in its published opinion.” ~Thom Thompson


The Spread: Crash and Burn

This week on The Spread: the coronavirus causes crashes not seen since 2008, derivatives trading hits record volumes for major exchanges, Robinhood has yet another outage, and the OCC adds two clearing-side veterans to its board of directors.

Watch the video »


Black Thursday: Dow Suffers Biggest Point Drop Ever, as Disney and Apple Fall Hard
Sean Burch – The Wrap
The Dow Jones industrial average, after sharp declines from major companies like Apple and Disney, had its worst single-day point drop ever on Thursday, plunging 2,352 points to close at 21,201 points. The 10% fall also represented the biggest single-day percentage drop since Black Monday 1987, when the Dow plummeted 22.5%.

****** Having lived through Black Monday in 1987, I can say, “Really, again???”~JJL


Investors Liquidate Everything in Record $137 Billion Cash Haul
Cecile Gutscher – Bloomberg
Flight to safety sees $34 billion yanked from risk assets; Outflows show despair at government response to coronavirus
Investors made their biggest dash for cash in history over the week that broke the bull market. They channeled $137 billion into cash-like assets and a record $14 billion into government bonds in the five days through March 11, according to Bank of America Corp. research citing EPFR Global data. Gold got its second-biggest inflow ever at $3 billion.

*****For sale: Brother-in-law. Will sell cheap.~JJL


The US stock market has now wiped out the entire $11.5 trillion of value it gained since Trump’s 2016 election victory
Ben Winck – Markets Insider
Thursday’s massive sell-off has erased any remaining stock market gains made since President Trump’s 2016 election win.
US stocks are down more than 8% Thursday afternoon as coronavirus risks build and investors fear near-term recession. The total market cap of the US equities market, as measured by the Russell 3000 index, has declined by $11.5 trillion from its February 19 peak to $23.8 trillion as of Thursday morning.

*****Easy come, easy go.~JJL


Coronavirus: Student punished for selling hand sanitizer ‘squirts’
Joshua Bote – USA Today
As coronavirus panic reaches a fever pitch – and the World Health Organization officially calling it a pandemic – some people have taken advantage of people’s anxiety for a quick buck.
That includes one teenager in the United Kingdom, who was suspended from school for the day for selling “squirts” of hand sanitizer to his friends at Dixons Unity Academy in Leeds.

**** Capitalism at its finest. ~JB


CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Tether (USDT)
The notorious stablecoin Tether – a digital asset that has been under significant scrutiny over the past year – printed 60 million digital coins this week. Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer of Bitfinex and Tether, called it an “inventory replenish” on Twitter. Ardoino also said in a comment: “Note this is a authorized [sic] but not issued transaction, meaning that this amount will be used as inventory for next period issuance requests.” Some have speculated that the printing of USDT coins is an attempt by Tether to revitalize the bitcoin market, which crashed this week. Tether was also listed on the decentralized trading platform Aave; this means that Tether can now be lent and borrowed by users of the platform.


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Cancel Everything from The Atlantic (subhead: Social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus. We must start immediately.) It does seem as though everyone is taking that advice. Second was Bloomberg’s CME to Close Its Trading Floor Amid Coronavirus Outbreak. Other closings followed. Third was a repeat from Wednesday’s top three, CNN’s Take this seriously. Coronavirus is about to change your life for a while. (We know, we know.)


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Lead Stories

Traders See ‘Flock of Black Swans’ on Worst Day for European Stocks
Ksenia Galouchko and Michael Msika – Bloomberg
As European stocks experienced their worst day on record, equity market participants described “total capitulation,” black swan events and unseen levels of trading activity. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index tumbled as much as 11% as the European Central Bank’s policy measures to counter the impact of the coronavirus disappointed investors and after U.S. restrictions on travel from Europe hit airlines and travel stocks. The gauge is now down 18% in a week that also included escalating concerns about the spread of the virus and an all-out oil price war.

Exchanges and data groups get swept up in market storm; Drops in shares of CME Group and the like could be a signal that capitulation is close
Philip Stafford – FT
It is not hard to find evidence that stock markets are in trouble; the fact that key indices have snapped a decade-long bull run is proof enough. But the recent performance of shares in stock exchange groups and other trading houses is another discomfiting sign.

Markets Get Nasty TARP Flashback With Deeper Rout on Virus Delay
Ben Holland – Bloomberg
Trump, Democrats push in different directions on relief plans; TARP debacle in 2008 showed how fiscal bailouts can get messy
The coronavirus panic deepened across financial markets Thursday as politicians in charge of the U.S. budget — under a harsh spotlight from the world’s investors — struggled to respond with the speed and unity that investors are clamoring for.

Fed promises to pump trillions of dollars into financial markets; Emergency moves follow alarm over liquidity conditions in US Treasuries
Colby Smith in New York and Brendan Greeley – FT
The Federal Reserve said it would pump trillions of dollars into the financial system in a dramatic attempt to ease stresses in short-term funding and US Treasury markets that have accompanied the spread of the coronavirus.

European regulators intervene in bid to stabilise stock and bond markets; Spanish and Italian bans on short selling follow US Federal Reserve’s liquidity injection
Philip Stafford and Adam Samson – FT
European authorities have intervened in the region’s stock and bond markets with a series of measures intended to bring stability to prices, after record falls were compounded by fears that traders are reluctant to buy or sell.

Strains in US government bond market rattle investors; Analysts and fund managers urge swift action from Federal Reserve and Treasury
Adam Samson, Robin Wigglesworth, Colby Smith and Joe Rennison – FT
The US government bond market has come under severe strain during this week’s financial market tumult, prompting calls from analysts and fund managers for decisive action by the Federal Reserve to prevent a bigger calamity.

What is causing such fear in the US Treasuries market? Strange patterns have started to emerge in what is usually a haven at times of crisis
Joe Rennison in London and Colby Smith – FT
Investors and analysts are warning about deepening cracks in the world’s largest government bond market. Strange patterns have started to emerge, such as drops in the price of US Treasuries — a traditional haven — even while riskier assets such as stocks have been squeezed by fears that the coronavirus outbreak will spark a global recession.

Markets contemplate a future in which stimulus does not work; Wall Street’s plunge underlines Fed’s diminishing ability to limit shockwaves
Gillian Tett – FT
This decade, America’s equity market has been like a drug addict. Until 2008, investors were hooked on monetary heroin (ie a private sector credit bubble). Then, when that bubble burst, they turned to the financial equivalent of morphine (trillions of dollars of central bank support).

A Deep Dive into How Markets Traded This Week
Phil Mackintosh – Traders Magazine
This week was historic. We hit the new 7% market wide circuit breaker (MWCB) for the first time ever on Monday, March 9, 2020. Of course, Thursday morning we hit it again.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Tanked Oil Markets. Here’s the Back Story; Mohammed bin Salman, one of the most powerful men in the Middle East, chose a weekend when the world was preoccupied with the novel coronavirus to assert his standing at home and abroad
Summer Said, Justin Scheck, Benoit Faucon and Jared Malsin – WSJ
In just 24 hours, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launched an oil-price war with Russia and sidelined a domestic rival to cement his power at home. But his surprise actions on the world stage and within his own kingdom were set in motion months ago.

Eight days that shook the oil market — and the world; How a squabble between Saudi Arabia and Russia led to ‘the nuclear version of a price war’
Derek Brower, Anjli Raval and David Sheppard and Gregory Meyer – FT
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, summoned his counterparts in Opec to the Park Hyatt hotel in Vienna for crisis talks last Thursday evening.

Cost of US corporate default protection soars; Investors race to protect themselves as coronavirus threatens companies’ creditworthiness
Richard Henderson and Jennifer Ablan – FT
Investors are racing to protect themselves from the risk of corporate defaults as uncertainty intensifies over the economic implications of coronavirus, sending the cost of credit insurance to levels not seen in the US for eight years.

Top China Oil Trader Is Looking to Back Out of Some Crude Deals
Alfred Cang – Bloomberg
Unipec looking to lift less than originally planned in April; Cites freight, low profit; contractual basis for move unclear
China’s top oil trader is trying to get out of loading some cargoes from the Middle East next month in the latest twist to the drama engulfing global crude markets.

Airlines, Cruise Operators Suffer Worst Start to Year on Record; As demand plunges due to the coronavirus pandemic, investors shun anything that flies or floats
Sebastian Pellejero – WSJ
Investors are selling their holdings in anything that moves, as coronavirus concerns and a new travel ban crimp demand for flights and cruises.

Why Work From Home Doesn’t Work for All of Wall Street; Some deals, loans and investments just have to get done in person
Ben Dummett and Julie Steinberg – WSJ
It is tough to work in a handshake business when you can’t shake hands. Nearly every company in the world is currently grappling with the fast spreading coronavirus. Companies must balance keeping their employees safe with trying to minimize the virus’s impact on their operations.

Free Trading Couldn’t Have Come at a Worse Time; Zero commissions is making people trade more often. In a scary market, that could be bad news.
Telis Demos – WSJ
The age of free stock trading has arrived at an inauspicious time—exactly when many individual investors might have been best served to not trade at all. It was just in October that Charles Schwab, E*Trade Financial, Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade Holding announced that they would charge zero commissions for most trades. The moves put them in line with some newer online upstarts, notably Robinhood Financial, and were followed by more expansions of free trading at big banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Cboe Global Markets to Suspend Open Outcry Trading on Chicago Trading Floor as Precautionary Measure
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, today announced that it will temporarily close its Cboe Options Exchange (C1) trading floor at the close of business on Friday, March 13, 2020 as a precautionary measure to prevent the potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Trading on C1 will continue to be available in an electronic-only trading mode until further notice.

Cboe to suspend open outcry trading floor in Chicago; Similar to CME, Cboe said no cases of coronavirus have been reported on its trading floor.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
US exchange group Cboe Global Markets has confirmed it will suspend its open outcry trading floor in Chicago at the close of business today until further notice.

Eurex adds Japan to bolster its euro clearing battle with London
Eurex said on Thursday it has been granted regulatory permission to clear euro-denominated swaps for Japanese customers in a move that should help the German clearing house compete better with rival LCH in London.

CME trading floor to close Friday as precaution to prevent spread of coronavirus
Robert Channick – Chicago Tribune
CME Group is closing its Chicago trading floor after Friday’s session as a precaution to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The Chicago-based futures exchange will continue to trade products electronically, but floor-based trading will cease until further notice.

Extraordinary Revision of the Price Limit
Considering recent market conditions, the price limit range for Futures and Options as bellow shall be revised from the trade date ending on March 18, 2020 to the trade date ending on May 29, 2020.

COVID-19 preparedness
The LME has robust business continuity procedures in place designed to deal with a wide variety of potential developments to ensure service resiliency, availability and stability across our platforms, during and around unforeseen events, crisis, or out-of-the-ordinary operating environments.

JP Morgan provides on-screen prices on Eurex MSCI Index Dividend Futures
Since 27 February, JP Morgan has been providing liquidity on-screen for the new MSCI Index Dividend Point Futures.

Euronext announces annual review results of the CAC® family indices
Euronext today announced the results of the quarterly review for the CAC® family indices. The changes due to the review will be effective from Monday 23 March 2020.

HKFE Announces Revised Margins For Futures Contracts
Please be advised that pursuant to Exchange Rule 617(d) and HKCC Rule 402, the Exchange and the Clearing House have determined that with effect from the commencement of trading on Tuesday, 17 March 2020, (including the mandatory intra-day variation adjustment and margin call, if applicable), the margin levels of the following Futures Contract shall be as follows:

SET Tightens Stock Short Selling Rule To Cope With Current Market Situation
MondoVisione The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) revealed that, from its close monitoring, trading activities from various channels, including program trading and short selling, are still normal, and the trading proportion remains unchanged from last year.

Dalian Commodity Exchange Solicits Public Opinions On LPG Futures & Options Contracts And Relevant Rules
Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) issues a notice on March 9 to solicit public opinions on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) futures and options contracts and relevant rules, accelerating the pace of listing the long-waited LPG futures and options.

Nadex Temporarily Refrains From Listing Contracts
On trade date March 12, 2020, North American Derivatives Exchange, Inc. (“Nadex”, the “Exchange”), due to the lock limit down in the underlying markets upon which the Nadex US Indices are based, and pursuant to the authority granted in Rule 12.1(i), no US Indices Intraday 20-Minute Binary contracts were listed for the 9:40am or 10:00am ET expiration. These contracts were relisted beginning with the 10:20am ET expiration time. Additionally, no US Indices Intraday 2-Hour Binary contracts were listed for the 10:00am ET expiration, and resumed for the 11:00am ET expiration. Finally, trading in all Daily and Weekly US Indices contracts was temporarily halted from 9:36am ET – 9:51am ET.

B3: CircuitBreaker
B3 hereby inform you that, due to the triggering of Circuit Breaker (oscillation of -10% from Ibovespa’s closing level on the previous day), all trading in equities segment is interrupted for 30 minutes. During this period, the orders that are not participating in auction can be cancelled.


Sell-side race for top spot on buy-side algo wheels with artificial intelligence; Report from TABB Group suggests competition in AI algorithms is heating up, with sell-side firms urged to keep up with new technologies.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Competition to build faster and smarter algorithms with new technologies to come out on top in buy-side algo wheels has surged among banks and brokers, with those not keeping up at risk of being left behind.


The crypto collapse gets cataclysmic
Jemima Kelly – FT
Remember the halvening? That quite silly made-up word that was meant to send bitcoin to the moon and beyond this year because of, like, the basic rules of supply-and-demand economics (ahem)?

Bitcoin Drops 50% in Epic Two-Day Tumble
Eric Lam – Bloomberg
Wild price swings continue in Asia hours after earlier losses; Bitcoin’s two-day drop of as much as 50% among biggest ever
Bitcoin is proving to be no haven asset amid the current global market meltdown. The price of the largest digital currency continued to swing wildly in Asia Friday as a rout that began in earnest overnight in New York showed no signs of slowing down. Bitcoin dropped as much as 32% to $3,915, its weakest since March 2019, before clawing back most of that loss by midday in Hong Kong, according to consolidated pricing compiled by Bloomberg. Its drop of as much as 50% over the past two days is among the biggest ever.

Bank of England chief warns of CBDC ‘challenges’ on fiat money
The outgoing governor of the Bank of England has warned of the risks of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), highlighting the potential impact of CBDCs on fiat currency and the wider financial system.

Bitcoin Falls Sharply as Crypto Gets Caught in Global Selloff
Paul Vigna – The Wall Street Journal
The price of bitcoin fell sharply Thursday, at one point losing more than 20% in less than an hour, a steep drop even for the notoriously volatile asset. Bitcoin on Thursday morning dipped below $6,000 for the first time since May. It rose to $6,125 by early afternoon, according to data from CoinDesk, though it was still down about 20% for the day. The speed and size of the selloff caught even crypto traders—who are usually used to bitcoin’s wild swings—by surprise. Bitcoin was trading at $7,340 around 6 a.m. ET when it plunged. About 45 minutes later, it bottomed out at $5,678, a loss of nearly 23%.

Coinbase rolls out Bitcoin batching, says users could save over 50% on transaction fees
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has finally enabled the Bitcoin transaction batching feature on its platform. As the name suggests, the feature allows batching multiple transactions into one, and therefore, helps reduce the load on the Bitcoin network. Lower the load, more block space, and less transaction fees. “Historically, every time a Coinbase customer sent bitcoin, we broadcasted a single on-chain transaction. Starting today, we will be bundling multiple sends into a single transaction,” said Eli Haims, product manager at Coinbase, in a blog post on Thursday. “We anticipate that this will reduce our load on the Bitcoin network by more than 50%, and the network fees our customers pay will automatically be reduced by an equivalent amount when sending,” Haims added.

New York Regulator Tells Crypto Firms to Develop Coronavirus Contingency Plans
Danny Nelson – Coindesk
New York’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) is requiring the state’s sanctioned cryptocurrency firms to provide detailed coronavirus preparedness plans, signaling the seriousness COVID-19 poses to businesses as well as public health. “Virtual currency” businesses must produce contingency plans with painstaking and granular detail, according to a letter sent out Tuesday. Preparations must include employee protection strategies, increased cyber-risk mitigation, disaster communication plans and procedures to ensure the continued functioning of critical operations “at a minimum.” They must also lay out their point-by-point plans for the eventuality of a potentially snowballing outbreak.

Illinois Can Claim ‘Abandoned’ Cryptocurrency Under New Bill
Andrey Shevchenko – Cointelegraph
A new bill draft proposed by the Illinois State legislature adds “virtual currencies” to a list of assets that can be considered abandoned. The bill was first introduced on Feb. 20, and was sent to the House Revenue & Finance Committee on March 12. The draft amends some aspects of Illinois’ Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, specifically adding two provisions related to virtual currencies — a legal term for cryptocurrencies and other assets with similar features. The act regulates all manners of assets that are deemed to be abandoned by their original owners. Among others, they may include real estate, safety deposit boxes, money orders and securities.

The crypto collapse gets cataclysmic
Jemima Kelly – FT
Remember the halvening? That quite silly made-up word that was meant to send bitcoin to the moon and beyond this year because of, like, the basic rules of supply-and-demand economics (ahem)? Well it wasn’t due until May, but it turns out the halvening has come early. Or a halvening of sorts, anyway. Not the halvening that’s set to cut the supply of newly minted bitcoins into two (a bit like tapering in a QE scenario), but a halvening that has cut the price of bitcoin into two. Bitcoin plunged to a 10-month low of around $3,850 overnight on some exchanges — a more than 50 per cent drop in the space of 48 hours — before edging up to around $5,500 at pixel time. That still marks an almost 50 per cent fall from levels close to $10,500 a month ago.

Cash Is the New Safe Haven as Crypto, Gold Continue to Tank
Daniel Cawrey – Coindesk
It turns out cold, hard cash with a helping of government bonds — not bitcoin or even gold — is where people turn in the face of a pandemic and market turmoil. Liquidations set in on the cryptocurrency market the day after the U.S. announced European travel restrictions due to coronavirus fears Wednesday. Bitcoin (BTC) is down 21 percent and ether (ETH) is down 27 percent over the past 24 hours. That’s more than the traditional markets, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 down nearly 8 percent at 2:45 p.m. ET (1845 UTC). “It’s apocalyptic out there. Traditional safe havens like gold are down,” said Rupert Douglas, head of Business Development, Institutional Sales at Koine.

*****If Coindesk writes that cash is a haven over crypto, that’s a bad sign for crypto.~MR

Two Japanese Men Arrested for ‘Fencing’ NEM From Coincheck Hack
Tokyo police arrested two men in connection to the Coincheck hack on March 11. The men are accused of purchasing stolen NEM (XEM) through a dark web market, in violation of a law designed to tackle organized crime.

Crypto exchanges briefly went out of service as bitcoin crashed by over 50% in one day
Yogita Khatri – The Block
At least two major cryptocurrency exchanges – BitMEX and Gemini – briefly went out of service earlier today as volatility surges. While their current status shows “operational,” both BitMEX and Gemini were down for about 45 minutes late Thursday night. BitMEX said it had a “hardware issue” with its cloud service provider, which caused requests to be delayed between 02:16 and 02:40 UTC. Normal service resumed at 03:00 UTC, it added. Bitcoin’s flash crash of more than 50% on Thursday triggered sharp position liquidations on BitMEX. The crypto derivatives exchange registered total position liquidations of a whopping $1.1 billion in the last 24 hours, according to data from Skew. That’s the highest amount since over 18 months.

Investors Can Hedge Long-Term Risk With New 2-Year Bitcoin Derivatives
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
Quedex, a Gibraltar-regulated derivatives exchange, recently launched a new bitcoin contract with the longest expiration date in crypto. The CEO of Quedex Bitcoin Derivatives Exchange, Wiktor Gromniak, told CoinDesk the firm had experienced a surge in investor interest in its new BTCUSD contract, which expires in December 2021 and only became tradeable last Friday. Quedex volumes surged past a record $5 million on Saturday, beating the previous all-time high of $2 million reached in February, according to the exchange. “The new December 2021 products account for about 5-15 percent of total volume on the exchange … we see it as relatively high and promising for a product which [has been] live for less than a week,” Gromniak said. “What’s interesting is that the new December 2021 expiry options are the most popular among options products.”

Crypto OTC desks see activity surge as bitcoin’s price plunges alongside global markets
Frank Chaparro – The Block
As anxiety over the coronavirus gripped global financial markets this morning, not everyone was losing money. B2C2, the U.K.-based cryptocurrency trading firm, was on track to beat its record for volume trading, according to co-founder Max Boonen. B2C2 isn’t unique in that respect. For trading firms and exchanges, periods of spiked volatility can be profitable as trading volumes surge in lockstep.


Sell signal: Trump’s shallow virus plan blows floor out of markets
Anshuman Daga and Tom Westbrook – Reuters
All global investors got from U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus package were a shock travel ban on Europe and a flashing signal to sell, and none of the large-scale tax breaks or medical tests for Americans they’d been expecting.

France Closes Schools as Macron Calls Virus Epidemic of Century
Ania Nussbaum – Bloomerg
French municipal elections will go ahead this weekend; Macron asks people to work from home, older people to stay put
France ordered the closing of nurseries, schools and universities from the beginning of next week to slow the spread of the coronavirus, following Italy in locking down key parts of public life to combat what President Emmanuel Macron called the worst health crisis in a century.

Trump Met Brazilian Official Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus
Simone Preissler Iglesias and Josh Wingrove – Bloomberg
Trump met Brazilian official who tested positive for virus; Brazil president, several ministers under medical observation
A close aide to Brazil’s president who attended a dinner with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend tested positive for coronavirus.

Donald Trump has poured fuel on the flames of coronavirus; US president’s travel ban has dealt a further blow to global economic confidence
The editorial board – FT
The “leader of the free world” is traditionally a source of reassurance in times of crisis. But the current US president, Donald Trump, is providing confusion, not leadership. Instead of damping down the flames of the coronavirus outbreak, his Oval Office address on Wednesday poured fuel on them. The mood was hardly helped by the World Health Organization declaring the virus a pandemic the same evening. But Mr Trump’s 30-day ban on travel to America from most European countries triggered new record falls in markets on Thursday. With the global economy already struggling to avoid a recession, it dealt another sharp blow to confidence.

Donald Trump’s troubling coronavirus address; President’s travel ban will not calm markets or address the threat facing America
Edward Luce – FT
On Wednesday night the global pandemic met US nationalism. It will not take long to see which comes off best. As Donald Trump was speaking, the Dow futures market nosedived. His Europe travel ban came just a few hours after the US stock market entered bear territory — a fall of 20 per cent or more — for the first time since the global financial crisis. It also followed the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic. Mr Trump’s address was meant to calm the waters. By the time he finished they were considerably rougher.

Australia Minister Who Met Ivanka Trump Diagnosed With Virus
Jason Scott – Bloomberg
Home Minister Peter Dutton announced he is now in hospital; PM Morrison urges Australians to reconsider overseas travel
A senior Australian government minister who met White House officials including Ivanka Trump in Washington last week has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, released a statement late Friday saying he’d been diagnosed with

Leadership in a Time of Crisis
Rosalind Mathieson – Bloomberg
The coronavirus impact is pervasive. Schools, bars and restaurants are closed, sporting and other events canceled. Broadway shut. Italy resembles a ghost country under a nationwide lockdown. Governments and central bank officials are arguing in Europe over how to mitigate the economic hit. And more politicians are being directly affected, right as people want reassurance.

Chinese Official Pushes Conspiracy Theory U.S. Spread Virus
Jason Scott and Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
Diplomat promotes article saying virus originated in the U.S.; Trump and allies have sought to blame China for virus
A Chinese foreign ministry official pushed a conspiracy theory the U.S. army may have had a role in spreading the virus, highlighting growing tensions between the world’s biggest economies as both governments seek to deflect blame for the outbreak.


Temporary prohibition of short selling
The FCA notifies that it temporarily prohibits short selling in the following instruments under Articles 23 (1) and 26 (4) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012. This follows a decision made by another EU Competent Authority.

Information on CFTC Regulatory Reporting Requirements
NFA has been closely coordinating with CFTC staff as market volatility and the spread of the Coronavirus recently have increased. NFA reminds swap dealer (SD) Members of their regulatory reporting obligations, including those pursuant to CFTC Regulation 23.603. In accordance with such regulatory reporting obligations, CFTC staff expects to be notified if an SD implements a teleworking plan or activates its Business Continuity Plan where such implementation or activation is for purposes other than testing.

CFTC to Hold an Open Commission Meeting on March 19
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath P. Tarbert today announced the CFTC will hold an open meeting on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) to consider the following:

SEC Adopts Amendments to Reduce Unnecessary Burdens on Smaller Issuers by More Appropriately Tailoring the Accelerated and Large Accelerated Filer Definitions
The Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted amendments to the accelerated filer and large accelerated filer definitions. The amendments will more appropriately tailor the types of issuers that are included in the definitions, thereby reducing unnecessary burdens and compliance costs for certain smaller issuers while maintaining investor protections. The amendments are consistent with the Commission’s and Congress’s historical practice of providing scaled disclosure and other accommodations to reduce unnecessary burdens for new and smaller issuers.

SEC Wins Jury Trial Against Microcap Fraudsters
Jurors in Los Angeles federal court yesterday returned a verdict in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s favor against a microcap issuer, Curative Biosciences Inc., formerly known as Healthient Inc., and husband-and-wife insiders who made false and misleading statements to conceal their unregistered sales of company stock.

CANCELED: West Region Member Forum
The FINRA West Region Member Forum is a one-day event designed to provide financial professionals associated with FINRA member firms in the West Region the opportunity to engage in key discussions with FINRA staff, and connect with industry leaders and peers. The forum also includes thoughtful discussions around the future landscape of the financial services industry, and provides opportunities to meet one-on-one with FINRA Risk Monitoring Analysts and Surveillance Directors to discuss firm-specific questions.

Financial Peace of Mind in the Age of Coronavirus
The headlines are hard to ignore. Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related cases and deaths are increasing around the globe, supply chains have been interrupted, financial markets are experiencing historic volatility, and businesses are questioning how they will weather the storm.

FINRA OTCE and OTC Transparency Data Websites Availability
FINRA will be performing scheduled maintenance to the and websites on Saturday, March 14, 2020, from approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. During this time, these websites will be unavailable to users.

Proposed Rule Change to FINRA’s Suitability, Non-Cash Compensation and Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) Rules in Response to Regulation Best Interest
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) proposed amendments to FINRA Rules 2111 (Suitability), 2310 (Direct Participation Programs), 2320 (Variable Contracts of an Insurance Company), 2341 (Investment Company Securities), and 5110 (Corporate Financing Rule – Underwriting Terms and Arrangements), and Capital Acquisition Broker (CAB) Rule 211 (Suitability). The proposed rule change would: (1) amend the FINRA and CAB suitability rules to state that the rules do not apply to recommendations subject to Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”), and to remove the element of control from the quantitative suitability obligation; and (2) conform the rules governing non-cash compensation to Reg BI’s limitations on sales contests, sales quotas, bonuses and non-cash compensation.

UK regulator demands early warning on funds at risk of suspension; FCA steps up oversight of funds at risk of margin calls or abnormal levels of failed trades
Chris Flood, Siobhan Riding and Owen Walker – FT
The UK financial regulator has demanded asset managers provide a clear warning if an investment fund hits trouble in an effort to strengthen investor protection standards during the worst sell off in stock markets since the 2008 financial crisis.

Spot FX could be dragged into Mifid II; EC tells it is studying Australian-style approach to regulating currency trading
Rebekah Tunstead –
The European Commission is looking to Australia as it considers pulling spot foreign exchange into Mifid II, the regime that exists for equities, bonds and derivatives – a radical change that industry lawyers and lobbyists have been hoping would fade from view, following intense criticism.

Division of Corporation Finance Chief Accountant and Disclosure Review Program Director Kyle Moffatt to Leave SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Kyle Moffatt, Chief Accountant and Disclosure Program Director in the Division of Corporation Finance, will leave the agency in March after nearly 20 years of public service.

Investing and Trading

Will the coronavirus trigger a corporate debt crisis? With companies having gorged on cheap money, a reckoning may be coming
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Peggy Hollinger, Joe Rennison and Robert Smith – FT
Since 1925, the Grand Ole Opry has featured the music of countless country and bluegrass stars, from Bill Monroe to Dolly Parton.

Oil Markets Point to a Lasting Glut of Crude; A closely watched market indicator shows supply is expected to dwarf demand in the coming months
Joe Wallace and David Hodari – WSJ
Energy markets are flashing a warning: The world is swimming in crude oil, and the glut won’t drain away any time soon.

Coronavirus Forces New Travel Curbs, Bans on Large Gatherings; Pathogen has infected more than 127,000 people in 116 countries and regions, killing more than 4,700
Jennifer Calfas, Stephanie Armour and Jing Yang – WSJ
As the threat of a rapidly spreading new coronavirus became more real to Americans Thursday, state and local officials banned large public gatherings, Broadway went dark, and sports leagues suspended competitions in dizzying succession.

Investment-Grade Bonds Could Turn to Junk Amid Global Rout; Prices on triple-B corporate bonds, the lowest rung on the investment-grade scale, are falling
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Economic fallout from the novel coronavirus and collapsing oil prices are sparking steep declines in the $3.4 trillion market of corporate bonds with triple-B credit ratings, the lowest rung on the investment-grade scale.

Investors Are Bailing on Stock Funds at Near-Record Pace; Investors have pulled $47.4 billion out of global stock-focused mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in three weeks
Caitlin McCabe – WSJ
Investors are fleeing stock funds at the fastest pace since the bruising market selloff at the end of 2018, while racing into government bond funds at a record clip.

What Happens When Bull Markets Unravel; Strategies that rely on previously solid relationships among different asset classes can run into trouble quickly in correlated market selloffs, but these periods typically don’t last long
Mike Bird – WSJ
The trading strategies built up over the past decade and a bit are coming under immense pressure in a selloff against which traditional havens have been unreliable sources of protection. The only optimistic note is that such correlated selling doesn’t last forever.

Fed firefighters must act quickly to limit financial contagion; Central bank expands purchases of Treasuries in effort to calm fragile markets
Michael Mackenzie – FT
A major financial market liquidation event is now upon us and looms as quite an epitaph on 11 years of easy money and aggressive risk-taking.

Airbnb IPO under threat as bookings plunge; Home rental platform maintains it will come to public markets this year
Dave Lee and Miles Kruppa, Alice Hancock in London, Ryan McMorrow – FT
Airbnb has seen its bookings collapse by 40 per cent in big European cities and China because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to independent data, putting its plans for an initial public offering this year in doubt.

Oil Hedge Strategy That Failed Shale in 2014 Is Burning It Again
Catherine Ngai and Michael Roschnotti – Bloomberg
So-called costless collars hurt explorers during 2014 crash; The strategy came back in vogue ahead of 2020 market downturn
In the aftermath of the 2014 oil crash, U.S. shale learned a painful lesson: Not all hedging strategies pay off. Countless producers were left exposed to big losses after oil plunged to levels that made their insurance less valuable.

Global Airlines Face the Worst Demand Decline on Record; Carriers are slashing fares and reducing schedules amid travel bans and quarantines.
Angus Whitley, Chunying Zhang – Bloomberg
Globalization has been a boon for the ­airline industry, which has flourished as nations opened up to one another over the past 40 years. Now ­businesspeople and tourists can crisscross borders as easily as they travel close to home. Unfortunately, as the cascade of infections around the globe can attest, so can the coronavirus.

World’s Richest Nearing $1 Trillion Wipeout in 2020 Rout
Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
No region spared as coronavirus fears slam global markets; The 500 wealthiest lost $331 million Thursday, led by Arnault
From New York to Paris, Sao Paulo to Hong Kong the losses are unprecedented for the world’s wealthiest. The world’s 500 richest people collectively lost $331 billion on Thursday, the biggest one-day drop in the eight-year history of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That pushed the group’s year-to-date losses to $950 billion.

“There is no liquidity”: Bond traders report market conditions never seen before
Dan.Barnes – FI Desk
Buy-side bond traders are facing a considerable challenge in matching their investor’s demand for fixed income assets as equity markets plummet. Volumes are up, but that does not represent increased liquidity, and traders are reporting markets with all bids and no offers.


Deutsche Bank chief confident on new strategy amid coronavirus disruption;
Christian Sewing says the restructure at Deutsche Bank puts the business in a good position to deal with the potential spread of coronavirus.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
German investment bank Deutsche Bank is confident that its new strategy and restructure has made its business more resilient in light of disruption from the potential spread of coronavirus across Europe.

Banks scramble as companies rush to tap back-up credit lines; Emergency meetings held as coronavirus threat forces staff to work remotely
Stephen Morris Laura Noonan, Henny Sender, and Olaf Storbeck in Frankfurt – FT
Banks have convened emergency meetings to address a rush of companies drawing on back-up credit lines, new accounting rules that are exacerbating loan losses and disruption in their own offices as lenders grapple with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

Jamie Dimon back at home following emergency heart surgery; JPMorgan Chase chief executive ‘doing very well’, bank tells staff
Laura Noonan – FT
JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon is home from hospital after his emergency heart surgery on March 5, the bank told staff on Thursday.

Deutsche Bank’s DWS Splits Up Employees Amid Coronavirus Spread
Suzy Waite – Bloomberg
Most staff will alternate between working from home and office; Many financial firms are putting contingency plans in place
Deutsche Bank AG’s asset manager DWS Group has split teams and enforced other workplace measures to limit the impact of coronavirus. Most of the firm’s staff will alternate between working from offices and their homes on a two-week rotation, according to a spokesman. The firm is also restricting travel, face-to-face meetings and conference attendance until further notice, he said.

HSBC Sounded Out Ex-Citigroup Banker Forese for CEO Position
Ambereen Choudhury, Donal Griffin, and Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
He instead joined HSBC board as non-executive director; Lender has yet to name a permanent CEO after Flint’s exit
HSBC Holdings Plc sounded out former Citigroup Inc. banker James Forese to gauge his interest in the chief executive officer’s post, at least the third high-profile outside financier to be approached.


More than 190m Europeans face life under coronavirus controls; Governments from Italy and Spain to Poland and Slovakia rush to curb people’s movement
FT Reporters
More than 40 per cent of EU residents are now facing life under far-reaching coronavirus-related controls as national leaders battle to limit the accelerating spread of the virus.

English Premier League suspends all football matches; Other sporting competitions also halted in response to coronavirus outbreak
Murad Ahmed, Mark Di Stefano and Alex Barker – FT
The English Premier League has suspended all football matches, becoming the latest sporting competition around the world to stop playing fixtures in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Wife of Canada’s Leader, Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will remain in isolation for the next two weeks.
Ian Austen – NY Times
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will remain in isolation for the next two weeks after Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, his wife, tested positive for the new coronavirus, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

Tokyo stock price fall reflects coronavirus threat to Olympics, say analysts; Nikkei 225 average drops 16 per cent over the week amid broad pandemic-linked sell-off
Leo Lewis – FT
Investors in Japan are now fully pricing in the prospect that the Olympic Games will not open as scheduled in Tokyo on July 24, according to several top analysts, because of fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

Indian bank implosion threatens to wipe out bondholders; Rescue of Yes Bank deals blow to country’s heavily leveraged banking sector
Benjamin Parkin – FT
Indian authorities’ takeover of one of the country’s largest private banks could wipe out more than $1bn in high-risk rupee bonds, dealing a blow to the mutual funds that piled into the market and leaving other lenders struggling to raise money.

China Knows a Thing or Two About Trader Tantrums; A big rush of stimulus won’t calm markets. You need to dole out smaller bits more frequently, as Beijing has been doing.
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
Quantitative easing, fiscal stimulus. Despite the billions of dollars promised, it seems global financial markets can’t stop sliding. Meanwhile China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has remained an ocean of relative calm. How has Beijing managed to pull this off?

Why India’s Financial Sector Keeps Blowing Up
Jeanette Rodrigues – Bloomberg
What’s up with India’s $1.7 trillion financial system? In the space of a couple of years, three major finance companies have been seized by authorities and the central bank has had to reassure the public three times. It’s a stark turnaround since the country emerged largely unscathed from the 2008 global financial crisis. Policy makers are grappling with a chicken-and-egg situation: Should they spur credit to boost economic growth or focus instead on cleaning up the world’s worst bad-loan ratio?

The City That Never Sleeps Is Brought to Standstill by Virus
Olivia Rockeman, Katya Kazakina, and Henry Goldman – Bloomberg
Crowds banned, Broadway goes dark, workers vanish, Met closes; Mayor de Blasio declares emergency, but it goes without saying
New York, the financial and cultural capital of the U.S., folded in on itself Thursday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Bill de Blasio declared an emergency in the nation’s largest city. Offices and trading floors were half-empty, those workers still present surrounded by vacant desks and the smell of hand sanitizer. Broadway theaters went dark and streets and train stations were sparsely populated. Museums announced that paintings would go unseen and sports leagues ceased play or postponed seasons. For the foreseeable future, the Met, the Met and the Mets are all off limits for lovers of opera, art and baseball respectively.

Frankfurt Airport’s 45% Traffic Drop Reveals Extent of Virus Hit
Richard Weiss – Bloomberg
Frankfurt airport said passenger numbers are declining exponentially, almost halving in recent days, in a stark illustration of the devastation the coronavirus is wreaking on the global travel market.

World travel may shrink 25% on coronavirus in 2020, shed 50 million jobs – WTTC
The coronavirus epidemic is putting up to 50 million jobs in the global travel and tourism sector at risk, with international travel likely to slump by a quarter this year, the World Travel and Tourism Council projected on Friday.


Face-to-face Brexit talks cancelled over coronavirus fears
Sebastian Payne, Jim Brunsden – FT
The second round of Brexit trade negotiations will not take place in London next week, as the UK and EU explore ways to keep talks going despite increasing travel restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint statement on Thursday, London and Brussels said face-to-face negotiations would not take place as planned. “Given the latest COVID-19 developments, UK and EU negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week’s round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled.”

EU’s draft new deal envisages close ties with Brexit Britain
Gabriela Baczynska – Reuters
The European Union’s new deal with Brexit Britain envisages a tight trade and security relationship, according to a draft seen by Reuters on Friday, despite London saying it is seeking looser ties.

Coronavirus could lead to no-deal Brexit crash out, leading Labour peer warns
James Morris – Yahoo News
Coronavirus could scupper the government’s Brexit negotiations with the EU, a leading Labour peer has warned. Angela Smith, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, said priority focus on the outbreak – for which the number of cases is dramatically rising by the day – could lead to a no-deal crash out at the end of the year.

UK and EU agree to ‘dial down rhetoric’ in Brexit talks
Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
The UK and the EU have agreed to “dial down the rhetoric” over Brexit in an effort to open up space for a deal, it has emerged. Brussels and London are expected to produce legal texts of their negotiating positions next week, with diplomatic sources claiming both sides have agreed to “lower the temperature” to enable the texts to be considered in detail to assess the scale of the divergence.

Virus and Brexit Spell Chaos for Business and Delay for Johnson
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
The coronavirus and the British government’s determination to press on with a final exit from the European Union at the end of this year together risk overwhelming businesses. Something may have to give.

Why coronavirus is making me miss Brexit
Robert Shrimsley – FT
The only good thing about coronavirus is that at least people have stopped telling you where they went on holiday. It’s not much of a silver lining but we must all draw what consolation we can in these panicked times. Where once the weeks after half-term were filled with stories of skiing, mini-breaks to Venice, the beaches of Tenerife and even exotic jaunts to Asia, suddenly everyone has got terribly coy about their travels. Facebook pages are notably less full of holiday snaps.


The Coronavirus and Your Job: What the Boss Can—and Can’t—Make You Do; Workplace efforts to contain the outbreak’s spread are raising a new set of questions for employees and employers. We answer them.
Rachel Feintzeig and Chip Cutter – WSJ
The new coronavirus’s spread is taking the relationship between employers and their workers into new territory—one in which both sides are trying to sort out their rights and responsibilities in containing the outbreak.

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